Working with Shapes

In Word shapes can be added and altered to add clarity and visual appeal. Use shapes in Word for all types of Word documents.

Introduction

Lesson 14

You can add a variety of shapes to your document, including arrows, callouts, squares, stars, and flowchart shapes. Want to set your name and address apart from the rest of your resume? Use a line. Need to create a diagram showing a timeline or process? Use flowchart shapes.

In this lesson, you will learn how to insert a shape and format it by changing its fill color, outline color, shape style, and shadow effects. Additionally, you will learn how to apply 3D effects to shapes.

Using shapes

Video: Working with Shapes in Word 2010

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Word's large shape collection allows you to organize and design the image you want. While you may not need shapes in every document you create, they can add visual appeal. To use shapes effectively, you'll need to know how to insert a shape and format it by changing its fill color, outline color, and shape style, as well as add 3D effects.

To insert a shape:

  1. Select the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Shapes command.
    The Shape command The Shape command
  3. Select a shape from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click and drag the mouse until the shape is the desired size.
    Creating a new shape Creating a new shape
  5. Release the mouse button.

To resize a shape:

  1. Click the shape to select it.
  2. Click and drag one of the sizing handles on the corners and sides of the shape until it is the desired size.
    Resizing the shape Resizing the shape
  3. To rotate the shape, drag the green handle.
    Rotating the shape Rotating the shape
  4. Some shapes also have one or more yellow handles that can be used to modify the shape. For example, with star shapes you can adjust the length of the points.
    Modifying the shape Modifying the shape

If you drag the sizing handles on any of the four corners, you will be able to change the height and width at the same time. The sizing handles on the top or bottom of the shape will only allow you to resize vertically, while the handles on the left and right sides will resize the shape horizontally.

To change the order of shapes:

If one shape overlaps another, you may need to change the ordering so the correct shape appears in front. You can bring a shape to the front or send it to the back. If you have multiple images, you can use Bring Forward or Send Backward to fine tune the ordering. You can also move a shape in front of or behind text.

  1. Right-click the shape you want to move.
    Right-clicking the shape Right-clicking the shape
  2. In the menu that appears, hover over Bring to Front or Send to Back. Several ordering options will appear.
    Selecting an ordering option Selecting an ordering option
  3. Select the desired ordering option. The shapes will reorder themselves.
    The reordered shapes The reordered shapes

In some cases, the ordering option you select will not affect the ordering of the shapes. If this happens, select the same option again or try a different option.

Changing a shape's appearance

To change to a different shape:

  1. Select the shape. A new Format tab appears with Drawing Tools.
    The Format tab The Format tab
  2. Click the Format tab.
  3. Click the Edit Shape command.
    The Edit Shape command The Edit Shape command
  4. Click Change Shape to display a drop-down list.
    Choosing a new shape Choosing a new shape
  5. Select the desired shape from the list.
    The new shape The new shape

To change the shape style:

  1. Select the shape. The Format tab appears.
    The Format tab The Format tab
  2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Shape Styles group to display more style options.
    The More drop-down arrow The More drop-down arrow
  3. Move your cursor over the styles to see a live preview of the style in your document.
    Previewing the shape styles Previewing shape styles
  4. Select the desired style.

To change the shape fill color:

  1. Select the shape. The Format tab appears.
  2. Select the Format tab.
  3. Click the Shape Fill command to display a drop-down list.
    Choosing a fill color Choosing a fill color
  4. Select the desired color from the list, choose No Fill, or choose More Fill Colors to choose a custom color.

To change the shape outline:

  1. Select the shape. The Format tab appears.
  2. Click the Format tab.
  3. Click the Shape Outline command to display a drop-down menu.
    Choosing an outline color Choosing an outline color
  4. From the drop-down menu, you can change the outline color, weight (thickness), and whether it is a dashed line.
    A thicker outline A thicker outline

To change shadow effects:

  1. Select the Format tab.
  2. Click the Shape Effects command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Hover your mouse over Shadow. You will see a list of shadow presets.
  4. Move your mouse over the menu options to see a live preview of the shadow effect in your document.
    Choosing a shadow type Choosing a shadow type
  5. Click the desired shadow effect to add it to your shape.

You can select Shadow Options from the drop-down menu and click the Color button to select a different shadow color for your shape.

3D effects

There are two types of effects you can apply to your shapes to give them a 3D appearance: 3-D Rotation and Bevel. 3-D Rotation gives the appearance that you are viewing the object from a different angle, and it can be applied to any shape. Bevel adds thickness and a rounded edge to shapes, but it doesn't work with every type of shape.

To use 3-D Rotation:

  1. Select the shape.
  2. Click the Format tab.
  3. Click Shape Effects from the Shape Styles group.
  4. Hover the mouse over 3-D Rotation. A drop-down menu will appear.
  5. Select the desired rotation preset from the drop-down menu. You can also click 3-D Rotation Options if you would prefer to type custom values.
    Choosing a 3-D rotation preset Choosing a 3-D rotation preset

To use bevel:

  1. Select the shape.
  2. Click the Format tab.
  3. Click Shape Effects from the Shape Styles group.
  4. Hover your mouse over Bevel. A drop-down menu will appear.
    Choosing a bevel preset Choosing a bevel preset
  5. Select the desired bevel preset from the drop-down menu. You can also click 3-D Options if you would prefer to type custom values.

If you click 3-D Options, you'll also be able to change the shape's material to give it a metal, plastic, or translucent appearance, and you can choose the lighting type to change how the shape is illuminated.

Viewing the 3-D Options Viewing the 3-D Options

Challenge!

  1. Create a new Word document.
  2. Insert a shape.
  3. Change the shape to a different shape.
  4. Change the fill color.
  5. Change the outline color.
  6. Try various shadow effects.
  7. Try various 3D effects.